Around the TRAC

Soccer stunner: No. 1 Clovis boys upset but Clovis North, Buchanan advance

The Clovis High boys soccer team was riding high with a sparkling 23-1-3 record, home field advantage throughout the playoffs as a No. 1 seed and a state No. 6 ranking.

However, in the unpredictable world of playoff soccer and after an early goal by Oscar Rubalcava, the Cougars were stunned as No. 8 Sunnyside scored the final two goals in a 2-1 defeat.

“After we were up we played fine and had chances to go up 2-0 in first 30 minutes,” head coach Danny Amparano said after the game. “The game ultimately began to be a very high paced and undisciplined second half. I thought if we got to overtime we could regroup and calm down and begin to play our style which is to move the ball around, to dictate tempo like we have all year long.”

Clovis is used to playing ahead (its only loss was 1-0 to Clovis North on Jan. 12) but Sunnyside (19-4-2) was able to play solid defense after giving up the early goal.

“The players were in disbelief. Yet, it’s such an experienced team that they have a ton of maturity,” Amparano said. “I told them this will not define them as players or competitors and that they should be very proud how they have represented the school and soccer in the Valley.”

Clovis North senior Mckay Severance takes on a Central defender in the team’s 1-0 win. The Broncos (19-3-2) used a goal by freshman Christian Silva to advance to the semifinals of the D-I playoffs. Contributed by Severance Digital Studio

But, the TRAC is still represented in the playoffs as No. 2 seed Clovis North (19-3-2), who tied Clovis for a TRAC title at 9-1, beat No. 6 Central (14-9-4) 1-0 behind a goal from freshman phenom Christian Silva in the first half.

“It was great to get an early goal and take some nerves away,” Broncos head coach Cameron Shahrokhi said. “I thought Central made the match really difficult for us; they pressed us and gave us no time on the ball. We didn’t play our best soccer on the day, so credit Central’s pressure, but we found a way to get it done.”

It also helps to have such a talented player in Silva, who has scored 19 goals this season.

“Christian is an outstanding player with a huge amount of potential – his natural instincts for the game are at a different level,” Shahrokhi said. “I am very impressed with his poise and composure on the field.

“He understands the game tactically at a high level. He can score all types of goals: with both feet, with his head long range shots, one-on-ones. He is a natural goal scorer and that’s hard to find.”

Buchanan, the No. 6 seed beat Liberty 3-1 to open the playoffs at home, then upset No. 3 South-Bakersfield 3-1 on the road.

Clovis North and Buchanan were set to play on Tuesday, Feb. 20.

Clovis West basketball boys win TRAC, No. 1 playoff seed

Since their TRAC opening 73-67 loss at Central, Clovis West ran off nine straight wins to capture a league title and end the regular season at 26-3. The Golden Eagles were rewarded with the No. 1 seed in D-I and are seeking their first Valley title since 2006.

Since the 2006 title, they have made the championship game five times (2007, ‘08, ‘11, ‘12, ‘13) with nary a win, all under then-coach Tom Orlich.

Could this be the year the Golden Eagles return to glory and add another to their nine titles in school history? Well, their last three wins in league were 76-69 at Clovis East, 65-64 at Clovis North and 69-63 at home over Clovis, a game they were losing by a point entering the fourth quarter. Not exactly crushing the competition, especially since East and Clovis ended up 2-8 in league.

However, we all know that the playoffs are a totally different animal and Clovis West, in Vance Walberg’s second season in his return, will attempt to erase the painful memory of last season’s 71-68 quarterfinal home loss to Bullard.

The Golden Eagles are led by a pair of scorers who can absolutely light it up from beyond the arc in senior Brandon Recek and freshman Cole Anderson. Recek, at 6-foot-5, averaged around 20 points per game and Anderson a shade under at 18.

Buchanan tied for second place with Central at 6-4 and was led all season by the play of 6-foot-9 Spencer Heimerdinger, the king of double doubles (not the In-N-Out Burger, but double figures in points and rebounds).

Central, the two-time defending D-I Valley champ, received the No. 5 seed. The Grizzlies were an early season favorite in the TRAC but an injury in the middle of league to leader scoring Cam’Ron Wilson hurt the team. But, Wilson, and his 26 points per game, has since returned and he and senior guard Cash Williams form one of the top duos in the section.

Clovis North is the No. 7 seed and may be the hottest team entering the playoffs. After starting off 0-4 in league, the Broncos went 5-1 the rest of the way, their only loss during that stretch was 65-64 at home to Clovis West.

Clovis East, the No. 10 seed, and Clovis, No. 14 tied for last at 2-8. The Timberwolves are certainly cold, losing their final eight games. Clovis, after not winning a league game in over two years, is much more dangerous this season and is led by senior guard Anthony Martinez.

The March to Selland Arena ends on March 3 as the D-I final is the last of the massive 10-game, two-day event.

Buchanan, Clovis face off in girls soccer semifinals

One thing’s for certain: there will be a TRAC girls soccer team in the D-I final on Feb. 22 as Buchanan and Clovis advanced to the semifinals and will play each other on Feb. 20.

It will be the third time the two teams have matched up this season; they played to a 1-1 tie on Jan. 5, then Clovis beat the Bears 2-0 on Jan. 23.

A star may have been born as No. 2 seed Buchanan used a 30-yard blast from standout freshman Taylor Phillips to beat TRAC foe Clovis East 1-0 in the second round of playoffs. Goalie Alexa Marchini, a Northern Arizona signee, recorded the shutout.

Clovis, the No. 3 seed, used two second half goals to beat No. 6 Central 2-1.

In league, according to stats on MaxPreps (some schools choose not to put stats online), Clovis High junior Kylie Lucero scored 16 goals to lead the TRAC followed by Buchanan’s Phillips with 14, Central junior Megan Galvan with 12 and Buchanan’s Kyndel Borman with 10.

No. 8 Clovis North played a scoreless tie at No. 1 Liberty in the quarterfinals, losing a heartbreaker in penalty kicks 4-3 and No. 12 Clovis West lost 2-0 to No. 4 Redwood.

Clovis West girls basketball dominate TRAC once again, earn No. 1 seed

The stats are mind-boggling, the coaching extraordinary, and the players, well, they just keep winning … and winning … and winning. With Clovis West’s 65-37 win over Clovis on Feb. 15, the Golden Eagles ran their league winning streak to 60 games and an almost unfathomable 127-3 league record over 13 consecutive titles. After finishing the regular season 27-3, the five-time defending D-I Valley champs were seeded No. 1 entering playoffs.

“You can ask our players, we never once talked of the win streak,” Coach Craig Campbell said. “We do discuss the league championship streak, because that is tangible and an important piece to our season goals. But, we honestly go one game at a time and give each opponent the same amount of respect and prep work.”

Coming off a magical season last year that saw Clovis West go 34-2, win the CIF State Open championship and finish No. 1 in the nation in three national polls, many thought this was the year to knock the Golden Eagles off their perch, especially after they graduated five seniors who are now playing Division I.

But with a nucleus of three juniors, Maddie Campbell, Champney Pulliam and Aari Sanders, and a talented freshman in Nikki Tom, they have certainly exceeded expectations.

“I told people I thought we would have between 16-21 wins entering the playoffs,” Campbell added. “And, if we could go 8-2 in TRAC, we would have a chance at at least a share of the title. For these kids to go 27-3 and 10-0 is truly remarkable.”

Maddie Campbell, the coach’s daughter, has had an incredible season, averaging over 20 points per game, breaking both the school’s single season three-point record and also the season scoring record, prompting Coach Campbell to say: “For being such a special talent, her team first attitude and desire to be great really separates her.”

The playoff semi-finals are set for Feb. 28 and the D-I championship final will be held at Selland Arena on March 3.

Clovis North, who went 24-4 and 8-2 in league, received the No. 2 seed and a bye while Clovis was seeded No. 4, Buchanan No. 8 and Clovis East No. 11.

Clovis West will play the winner of Ridgeview and Buchanan on Feb. 23.

Buchanan wrestling, Clovis’ Nevills dominates at Central Section Yosemite Divisionals

The Buchanan wrestling team is primed for another state title run after dominating at the Central Section Yosemite Division championships with eight wrestlers winning their weight class. CONTRIBUTED

Clovis Unified dominated the Central Section Yosemite Divisional championships at Lemoore on Feb. 17, winning 12 of the 14 weight classes including six by two-time defending state champion Buchanan while Clovis North won four and Clovis two.

Buchanan moved on all 14 of its wrestlers to the Central Section Masters championships, scheduled for Feb. 23-24 at North-Bakersfield, while the CIF State Championships are March 2-3 at Rabobank Arena.

Buchanan has been ranked No. 1 in the state all season by and is currently No. 6 in the nation by flowrestling.

Nevills, the Penn State signee and three-time California heavyweight state champion, dominated all weekend, pinning Kaleb Abernathy of Centennial in 48 seconds.

Top three team scores were 1. Buchanan (357), 2. Clovis North (241.5 points) 3. Clovis (235).

Here are the winners from Clovis Unified:

106: Carlos Negrete, Clovis North. 113: Maximo Renteria, Buchanan. 120: Devin Murphy, Clovis North. 126: Ryan Franco, Clovis North.

132: Lajon Grier, Clovis North. 138: Matthew Olguin, Buchanan. 145: Chris Gaxiola, Buchanan. 160: Joel Romero, Buchanan.

182: Anthony Montalvo, Buchanan. 195: Jacob Good, Clovis. 220: Trevor Ervin, Buchanan.

285: Seth Nevills, Clovis.

Paul Meadors
Paul Meadors is a man of many talents. He is a elementary school teacher, Junior High athletic director, and basketball coach in Traver, CA, in addition to serving as the Sports Editor for the Clovis Roundup. He is also the author of the humorous book “Letters to eBay,” and he has recorded a piano album of his own compositions titled “Surviving the Storm.” He lives in Fresno with wife Lori and daughters Georgie, Alex and Ruthie.